The Border Violence Monitoring Network are pleased to be recruiting a Grants and Admin Coordinator. The team are looking for candidates with fundraising experience and who are confident in proposal writing to help ensure the sustainability of the project. If you have a background in finance and would like to be part of a dynamic Network working to document and advocate against illegal pushbacks, then we would like to hear from you.
To find out more on the post, please see the vacancy attached with full job description, terms and details on how to apply. Read more here:
Together with a number of NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Are You Syrious / Centre for Peace Studies, and Amnesty International, the Border Violence Monitoring Network has been working to document illegal pushbacks and police violence along the EU’s external borders in the Western Balkans since the formal closure of the route in 2017. While the existence of systematic illegal pushbacks along the Croatian and Hungarian borders with Serbia and Bosnia is evidenced extensively, this report focuses on the increasing violence that is applied to refugees and migrants under the framework of the Croatian case. Continue reading “New yearly report on torture of asylum seekers by Croatian authorities at EU external borders”
On Saturday 16th November 2019, a group of people-in-transit were fired upon by Croatian police with live rounds. The shooting occurred on Tuhobić mountain, Gorski Kotar (HR), an area close to the Slovenian border. One man was shot in the stomach and chest area and remains in a critical condition in a hospital in Rijeka (HR). The Croatian Ministry of Interior have stated this potentially fatal shooting to be an accidental outcome of regular border protection work. However, The Border Violence Monitoring Network are sharing their dataset of firearms incidents, proving the regular and systematic use of guns by the Croatian police during pushback operations. The statistics, drawn from the common database, show:
Its 5th January 2017, at around midnight. A group of 39 people have entered into Hungary from Serbia through the infamous border fence. They walk through the snow. It’s dark. It doesn’t take long for the Hungarian police to arrive, surrounding them in four patrol cars. The officers move fast; setting dogs on the transit group, then destroying their mobile phones, and following this up with a brutal beating with batons. One man cries out in fear as an officer raises a gun and holds it to the man’s head. Another cannot cry out. He is lying on the floor with the cold boot of an officer rammed against his throat, as other policemen kick at his body. The police strip the people of their clothing, some down to their underwear. The next morning they are driven to the border fence and pushed back into Serbia.
On 1st October 2019, in the early evening the sun is setting as five people in transit walk through a southern area of Slovenia. It’s not long before they hear gunshots and shouts of “Stop!”. The Slovenian police take them to Croatia in a van and hand them over to the authorities. Then the Croatian police take them in a van to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). There is no procedure carried out, the Croatian officers only take time to fire two tear gas cannisters into the rear of the van, before locking the door. The five people, choked and vomiting, are driven for around six hours and dumped at a remote border spot. Here there are more Croatian police officers. The authorities strip them of their clothes and push them half naked into the river which marks the border, forcing them back into BiH.
No right to food. No right to water. No right to shelter. No right to walk in the street. No access to asylum. No access to healthcare. Is this a safe country to be returning people-on-the-move?
In the 2007 bilateral agreement signed between Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and the European Union (EU), Article 13 explicitly states an obligation to “non-refoulement”. This principle ensures that an individual’s removal to BiH can be halted:
“(a) if the third-country national or the stateless person runs the real risk of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”
BVMN, alongside media and human rights groups, have substantiated the claims that Croatia is illegally pushing people back into BiH, aspects of which are often tantamount to torture. But recent news from BiH shows that the conditions awaiting people in the primary receiving state also go further: fundamentally violating the principle of “non-refoulement”.Continue reading “Is Bosnia and Herzegovina a safe country to readmit to?”